Every General Assembly, a variety of well-meaning bills are introduced that require health insurance plans to cover treatment for a specific disease or illness. So far, the 131st GA is no different. Just 90 days into the new legislative session and we already have bills that would require coverage for hearing aids, telemedicine, and contraceptive drugs and services. And there are undoubtedly more to come.
Over time, Ohio has cobbled together an ad-hoc and arbitrary list of what must be covered – 31 health insurance mandates in all so far. However, many Ohioans – and many lawmakers – do not realize the costs and consequences that come with this unnecessary government intervention. Legislators need to look beyond politically convenient solutions and recognize the true consequences of health insurance mandates.
Plain and simple, health care benefit mandates increase the cost of health insurance. And they also stifle the flexibility in plan design that many employers rely upon to help control health care costs. Mandates add to the difficulty that employers, particularly small businesses, face in continuing to offer health care benefits to their employees.
By mandating that certain benefits be offered, Ohio workers may face damaging consequences. If the costs of health insurance become too great, employers are forced to consider options such as no longer offering health care benefits to employees, reducing wages, or eliminating other employee benefits. This is not only harmful for employees, but it also affects the ability of employers to attract and retain employees, as most employers believe offering a quality health benefit package provides them with a competitive advantage when seeking to hire the best employees.
In the last ten years, Ohio employers have seen their premiums for employee health insurance increase by more than 60% and costs are expected to keep rising. Ohio legislators should say no to more health care benefit mandates. This would help preserve businesses’ ability to offer high-quality health care insurance to employees – while protecting these Ohioans’ access to affordable health care coverage.
For more information, check out our one-page info sheet on health care mandates.